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Roasted Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper Canned Spread

Try this eggplant and red bell pepper canned spread recipe, a traditional vegetarian Romanian recipe. It’s perfect for canning season! 

I love this recipe! This eggplant and red bell pepper canned spread recipe, is a Romanian traditional recipe called “zacusca”, and it’s one of the most delicious eggplant canned spreads recipes ever! This recipe, along with the Romanian Eggplant Salad recipe (or Eggplant Caviar as you may know it), are two of my all-time favorite recipes!

When I was little, my grandma used to make this awesome eggplant and red bell pepper canned spread recipe. Now, my mother-in-law does it. As you probably know, I’m not a huge fan of complicated recipes that take a very long time to cook. Well, this eggplant and red bell pepper canned spread will keep you in the kitchen for a few hours. That’s why I prefer to ask my mother-in-law to send me some instead of making it myself 😀 Yes, I’m lazy like that.

Be aware, this eggplant and red bell pepper canned spread is super-addictive! And by addictive I mean you’ll eat a whole jar in less than half an hour! Yes, that happens to me way too often. So, make this recipe at your own risk! It’s worth it ,though!

Zacusca ca la mama acasa Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper Canned Spread

Roasted Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper Canned Spread
Try this eggplant and red bell pepper canned spread recipe, a traditional vegetarian Romanian recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Preserves
Cuisine European, Romanian
Servings 4 x 375ml jars
Calories 755 kcal


  • 1,5 kg eggplants small to medium
  • 1 kg red bell peppers
  • 0,5 kg onion
  • 500 ml tomato juice homemade is best
  • 250 ml oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper


  • Rinse the eggplants. Heat your grill pan. Grill the eggplants on each side and turn them over every 10 minutes or so. Grill them until they are covered with a black crust.
  • Peel the eggplants, cleaning off the black crust. Put them on a wooden platter and let them drain for at least half an hour. The liquid is bitter. The longer you drain them, the sweeter they’ll be.
  • Mash the eggplants’ pulp with a blunt, thick wooden knife or a ceramic one, on a wooden platter (This is the secret for a delicious eggplant salad! Do not use a metal knife because it will turn the eggplants black and it will also make them bitter). The process is pretty much the same as the one I used for making this delicious Eggplant Caviar recipe.
  • Grill the red bell peppers, just as you grilled the eggplants. When done, set aside and let them cool off a bit. Peel them too and remove the seeds.

Attention: Don’t use water when peeling the veggies! They will lose their taste.

  • Heat the oil in a large pot. Dice the onion and saute it for 8 minutes. Add salt right from the beginning, this way the salt won’t get burned and it will become tender instead.
  • Put the red bell peppers in your food processor and mash them. Add them in the pot. Add pepper, bay leaves, tomato broth and mashed eggplants. Let them boil for about one hour, over low heat. Check every 15 minutes so it won’t stick. Add 1-2 tbsps of sugar if you want it to be sweeter.
  • When ready, pour the resulting paste in sterilized jars, placed on a metal oven tray. Cover them with their lids and place in the preheated oven at 212F, for another hour. When done, just turn off the oven and let them in there to cool off slowly.


Serving: 1jarCalories: 755kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 9gFat: 61gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 17gMonounsaturated Fat: 38gTrans Fat: 0.2gSodium: 617mgPotassium: 1870mgFiber: 19gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 8500IUVitamin C: 361mgCalcium: 96mgIron: 3mg
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Recipe Rating


Saturday 14th of September 2019

Sounds delicious! Is this safe for canning?

Ruxandra Micu

Monday 7th of October 2019

Yes. This is a very popular Romanian canned recipe. The trick for long-lasting eggplant and red bell pepper spread is to use the right amount of oil. It's an oily recipe, but this is the only way to do it.


Monday 23rd of July 2018

It's my first Romanian recipe that I try and I just adore it. You have an interesting cuisine! So easy and healthy!


Friday 7th of September 2018

Glad you liked the recipe!


Friday 30th of January 2015

What can I use for tomato broth? I can't just buy it here. Is there a recipe? Or can I just use tomato juice? Or tomato paste, watered down?? Thanks


Thursday 5th of March 2015

Hi Lois!

You can use tomato paste. It works just as well. :)